Eat Your Way Around Edinburgh

From drinking and dining in a traditional Scottish pub, to having tea and cake in a quaint tea room on the Royal Mile and having a nice sit down meal in New Town, here’s my roundup of places you should eat and drink in while in Edinburgh. While we went looking for some with dogged determination, others we just stumbled up on and they turned out to be great finds!

Cafe Hub

I am not sure if it was the time of the day or the month, but we just couldn’t find a nice street side cafe to grab a mid morning bite on the Royal Mile. The weather was brilliant. The sun shone is all her glory while the air was still nippy. It was just one of those days that begged for you to sit outside and have a meal. That was when we chanced up on the Cafe Hub. The impressive Gothic building that houses the cafe has the highest spire in Central Edinburgh. Constructed between 1842 and 1845, the building was meant to be a Church but was never consecrated as one. Today the building houses offices and a performance space, that used for the Edinburgh International Festival amongst others.

While the indoor cafe is not much of a looker, the food is fresh, wholesome and delicious. Try and get a table outside bang on the Royal Mile if the weather is good. They have a special kid’s menu and apart from the variety, the prices are great too!

After polishing off bowls of hot potato and leak soup served with some delicious fresh sandwiches that the cafe specializes in, we topped it all up with scones served with clotted cream and jam.

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A bowl of potato & leek soup, served with homemade bread

 

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Scones served with clotted cream and jam

 

They serve breakfast till 11:30 a.m. So if you are looking for a place to have a good breakfast right next to Edinburgh’s main attractions then this cafe is a good bet!

Great for: It’s location, vegetarians, children and value for money.

Visit their website here.

The Doric

Built in the 17th century, The Doric claims to be Edinburgh’s oldest gastro pub. Its the perfect place to grab a drink and unwind after a day of sightseeing in the city. Located on the ground floor, the bar has barely 10 tables so you need to be lucky to find a spot, especially when there’s a live performance going on. We happened to walk in and found a spot at the bar, as 2 musicians were performing folk music and serenading the guests around.

While the focus is most definitely on alcohol with the bar serving 50 kinds of single malt whiskies and a range of ales brewed locally, the food was also particularly good. The bar serves a variety of bar snacks as well as home made pies, filled rolls and soup of the day with bread.

After a few drinks we headed to the restaurant on the first floor which is open from 12pm till late at night. Traditional dishes and fresh local produce find favor in the bistro. The wild mushroom soup served with a thick slice of fresh warm bread was definitely a highlight!

Great for: Live traditional folk music, pub grub, children (who are allowed till 8 pm) and vegetarians.

Visit their website here.

Clarinda’s Tea Room

As we walked towards the Holyroodhouse Palace we saw a window adorned with lacy curtains and a sign – ‘Clarinda’s Tea Room – Home Baking & Take Aways’, painted on it. It was the ‘home baking’ sign that instantly caught my friend’s fancy and who dragged me across the road to take a peak inside and what a find it was!

The small tea room was one of the prettiest I have ever seen! Six or seven tables all beautifully laid out with lace tablecloths and charming china, make up the tea room. Floral wall paper, old photos and pretty plates adorn almost every inch of the walls. But it was the cake stand overflowing with delicious cakes and biscuits all freshly baked on the premises that grabbed our attention immediately. Choosing which one to try was a task as just about everything looked so good!

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The cake stand that had us transfixed!

 

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The gorgeous Clarinda’s Tea Room

 

The tables by the window overlooking the Royal Mile with soft sunlight filtering in, are the nicest and hence the toughest to get. Luckily we found one inside that accommodated our large group. We tried their sandwiches and baked potatoes which were good. But really what stood out were the cakes and tea!

 

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Jacket potatoes

 

A bit of trivia: ‘Clarinda’ (Agnes Maclehose 1759 – 1841) was a friend and mentor to Scotland’s national poet. Robert Burns, and was the inspiration for his popular love song, “Ae fond kiss”. her memorial stone can be found in the nearby Canongate churchyard.* 

Great for: Tea & cakes and its location

Visit their website here.

Oink Hog Roast

Across the street from Clarinda’s Tea Room is a restaurant that’s all about pigs! Almost everyone who was walking down the Royal Mile stopped to look at a whole pig that was roasting by the window of this restaurant.

Adam Marshall and Sandy Pate, farmers from the Scottish Borders brought their fresh produce to the people of Edinburgh through delicious Scottish hog roasts (pulled pork) at a local farmer’s market. The simple but delicious dish met with such success, that they eventually opened their first restaurant in the city in 2008 and in 2013 they opened their second restaurant on the Royal Mile.

When we entered the tiny restaurant there was barely place to stand as people stood in a long queue waiting to place their orders at the counter.

I am vegetarian so I didn’t try the roast, but my husband said it was delicious!

Good for: Meat lovers, value for money and its location

Visit their website here.

The Dogs

Large framed prints of dogs stare at you in this trendy gastropub located in the newer part of Edinburgh. We were seated in a room adjoining the main dining room I am guessing because of the boisterous kids we had with us!

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The Dogs – Unusual name but a great restaurant!

 

David Ramsden opened the restaurant hoping to create a space that serves great value food and wine, in a relaxed environment with no frills and fuss. And from our experience of dining there the restaurant truly delivers on this promise. The food was one of the best we ate in Scotland.

Scottish and British favorites feature on the menu like steaks, mussels, haggis and black pudding. My husband had a cock-a-leekie, which is a traditional Scottish soup made up of chicken and leeks. They have exciting vegetarian options too and I had a pie which was served with vegetable haggis, again a Scottish favorite.

 

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Mussels – a local delicacy

 

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Pie with vegetable haggis

 

Great for: Vegetarians and kids

Visit their website here.

Tips 

  • I would highly recommend making a reservation at a restaurant before you go for a meal. Almost all restaurants have a website where you will find their contact details.
  • If you are traveling with children check beforehand if the restaurant you want to go to allows kids and if they do, till what time they are allowed.
  • Ask for a kid’s menu, as most restaurants have one.

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* History as stated on their website

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